Don’t ever forget that Mount Everest is littered with bodies of once highly-motivated people.
“But when I say our sport is a hazardous one, I do not mean that when we climb mountains there is a large chance that we shall be killed, but that we are surrounded by dangers which will kill us if we let them.”George Mallory, 1924
I’m never going to hike Everest. I love the wilderness, and I love the beauty of nature. I love adventure, and I respect the adventurers who push themselves to go further and see bigger.
Hiking Everest is a grand adventure. Fit for some men madder than myself.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong about scaling to the top of the highest mountains in the world. There’s a fierce spirit in us that wants to achieve.
I love reading about feats of bravery and courage. About stories of overcoming adversity and trial. I still can’t get over the bodies that have become mile-markers on the journey.
Green Boots is the name given to the unidentified body of a climber that became a landmark on the main Northeast ridge route of Mount Everest. The body has not been officially identified, but he is believed to be Tsewang Paljor, an Indian climber who died on Everest in 1996.Wikipedia
Motivation alone can kill you.
And your body, though preserved and memorialized as a waypoint, is not truly immortal.
We can achieve great things.
And we can fail.
But it’s almost a sad thing that your body, unrecoverable, could become entirely utilitarian.
At lower altitude, a meal for grizzlies or sharks.
A filler for a decorative urn on a shelf.
A profit for an undertaker.
An organ donor. (a nobler cause no doubt – but you’re still dead)
Even alive, we can be reduced to utilitarian ends.
A moneymaker for pharmaceutical companies.
A cog in the industrial complex.
A sperm donor.
Everest is certainly a worthy opponent for a man. I have to ask though if there isn’t a bit of vanity involved.
Motivation drives us to achieve – and if we do achieve – we may enjoy a little success, a little bragging rights.
I had the privilege of helping a good friend with some public relations work. He has an amazing story. I wrote a feature-style press release and sent it to the local newspapers to tell his story. It got picked up by the Associated Press, and distributed to newspapers across the country. Then it got picked up by bigger and bigger news outlets, and he got a call from Good Morning America and The Today Show. I helped him navigate the process of appearing on the show. They wanted him to come tell his story. The Today Show offered to fly him out to Manhattan, put him up in a hotel, cover his expenses, and they asked for a shorter embargo to give themselves some exclusivity. He was able to take his wife and me with him to Manhattan.
What an experience to walk on the set at 30 Rock and meet the folks we knew from TV.
The rock band Fall Out Boy was playing the show that morning. We got to see them warming up in the street, and we hung out in the green room eating breakfast with them.
I didn’t really get the opportunity to talk to them. I’m not a fan of fawning over celebrities. But everytime Fall Out Boy comes on the radio, I announce to whoever I’m with that I had breakfast with Fall Out Boy.
But at the end of the day…. Do I KNOW Fall Out Boy?
Did I PERFORM with Fall Out Boy?
I wasn’t even ON the Today Show. I was with a friend who was ON the Today Show.
At best, a sixth level connection to any kind of greatness in the situation.
Greatness by proximity.
Men – climbing Everest isn’t the real greatness. BEING Everest is the greatness.
Be your own Everest.
Everest is doing what is designed to do. Be a really tall mountain. And it’s doing a great job at it.
Are we doing what we are designed to do?
What we are destined to do?
Fulfilling our PURPOSE?
That is greatness.